Poetry and lost love serve as the common threads of inspiration for Wordless Verses, a collection of atmospheric chamber music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the uncommon scoring of oboe, viola, and piano.
Available together for the first time, these evocative pieces make up the newly released debut recording of the Jackson Trio, whose members are longtime colleagues and active performers and educators in university and festival settings across America. Wordless Verses is produced by Oberlin Music, the official recording label of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
The Jackson Trio consists of Oberlin Associate Professor of Viola Michael Isaac Strauss, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra English hornist and assistant principal oboe Roger Roe, and Illinois Wesleyan University piano professor R. Kent Cook.
The poetry that serves as the programmatic foundation for each work comes from a diverse group of voices including American Victorian poet Edgar Allan Poe, Austrian lyric poet Nikolaus Lenau, 17th-century metaphysical English poet Andrew Marvell, and French musician and decadent poet Maurice Rollinat. The work most widely known and recorded is Charles Martin Loeffler’s 1901 Deux Rhapsodies for oboe, viola, and piano. The others are by three relatively unknown composers who wrote exceptionally well-crafted music. Felix Harold White’s 1921 composition The Nymph’s Complaint for the Death of Her Fawn won the 1922 Carnegie Award and the praise of Ralph Vaughan Williams. August Klughardt composed his Schumannesque Schilflieder, Five Fantasy Pieces After Lenau’s Poems, Op. 28 in 1872. Excerpts of Lenau’s poetry written directly into the score explicitly illuminate the instrumental passages. Josef Holbrooke’s lifelong obsession with Poe’s poetry inspired 30 works including Nocturne: Fairyland, Op. 57, No. 1, written in 1917 after one of Poe’s earliest published poems by the same name.
"The trio is honored and excited about this CD release,” says Strauss. “It has been 15 years of patient exploration of repertoire, rehearsal, and performance for the three of us, and we are thrilled with the results. It was truly a labor of love between the best of friends, and I believe that character is shared with the listener in this release."
Distributed by Naxos of America, Wordless Verses is available through select retailers and digital music channels worldwide. Learn more at oberlin.edu/oberlinmusic.